RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services offers online resources for farmers, agribusiness operators and others who work in the agricultural industry to assist with COVID-19 concerns. This page be found on the department’s web site www.ncagr.gov by clicking on the COVID-19 resources link. Questions and concerns can also be emailed to Covid19Questions@ncagr.gov.
The department has also activated a hotline for questions that are not answered by online resources. Callers are encouraged to first check the website as most information is readily available online. The toll-free number is 1-866-747-9823. An operator will be available on the hotline between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m, Monday through Friday. Due to expected call volume, callers are encouraged to check the website first or send an email for quicker responses.
“In the last week we have seen a sharp increase in the number of calls from those in agriculture requiring assistance due to COVID-19,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Agriculture is our state’s No. 1 industry and the spring planting season is critical to our farmers. It is critical that our industry be able to move amid the various travel restrictions. While we can’t solve all problems in these unprecedented times. Our employees will offer assistance where we can.”
The Department of Homeland Security defines food and agriculture workers as: workers supporting groceries and farmers markets, food manufacturing employees, farm workers, support services such as fuel, ethanol, feed and pesticides, food testing labs, animal agriculture workers, veterinary health, forestry workers and farm equipment maintenance and manufacturing. Because of their vitalness to North Carolina agriculture, NCDA&CS also includes green industry operations such as nurseries, garden centers and landscape companies as well as to caretakers and workers that support the equine industry as essential.